Jun.21 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Renault says it is sure it will continue to power Red Bull’s cars next year.
The news comes amid swirling rumours about the future in F1 of the energy drink company, with owner Dietrich Mateschitz threatening to quit and reports Red Bull received an offer to become a Ferrari ‘customer’ next year.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, however, told reporters he thinks Mateschitz’s quit threat is not quite that simple.
“He’s been in F1 longer than people realise and he’s always supported it,” he said of the Austrian billionaire.
“Actually, I think he’s an intelligent guy — he knows what he says and what the effects are.”
Among direct rivals Mercedes and Ferrari, however, the immediate ‘effect’ was some criticism of Red Bull’s threats.
“It’s easy to be happy when you are winning four championships,” said Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene, “and easy to complain when you are not winning anymore.
“You have to accept when something is going wrong and happy when something is going right,” he added.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes chief, agreed that Red Bull is finding defeat “difficult to deal with”.
“But one cannot always call for new rules when things are not going well,” he said. “It would be better to analyse where you are going wrong, as we had to do in 2012.
“Before pointing the finger at someone,” Wolff added, “my strategy would be to make sure I am getting it right myself.”
Indeed, Red Bull’s finger-pointing has been mainly in the direction of Renault.
Denying that Mateschitz wants to quit F1, Bernie Ecclestone suggested a change of scene might be the smart move.
“It doesn’t mean that because he’s falling out of love he wants a divorce,” the F1 supremo told reporters. “He just needs a new girlfriend.”
But amid rumours Red Bull’s ‘new girlfriend’ might be Ferrari, Renault engineer Remi Taffin was quoted by Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper: “I am sure that we will be supplying power units to Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso in 2016.”
And he predicts Red Bull might feel better about its engine situation towards the end of this season.
“At the end of July, the first stage is coming,” said Taffin, referring to planned performance upgrades that are in the pipeline. “And then another comes after the summer break in late August.”
As for Renault’s bigger plans, such as taking over a team like Lotus, Taffin said only president and CEO Carlos Ghosn can take that decision.
Gerhard Berger, meanwhile, is a long-time colleague and confidante of Mateschitz, and whilst wearing a Red Bull-branded jacket on Saturday, he admitted the billionaire is currently “looking for the right solution”.
“Clearly he wants to get back to winning,” Berger told the Austrian broadcaster ORF, “as the team and the car is still good, but the engine is not powerful.”
As for Red Bull becoming a Ferrari customer, however, he said: “I don’t know if that’s the right move.
“I think if you are a customer team of Ferrari or Mercedes, you will never get their support for victory.”
But Berger says Mateschitz already knows that.
“I don’t need to recommend anything to Didi,” he said. “He knows the business inside and out and will make the right decisions.”